• Save Our Kindergartens!
    The free public Kindergarten model has existed in New Zealand society, and served our families well, for over 120 years. Currently a child can be at Kindy for five mornings a week and be fully funded with 20hrs free ECE (early childhood education). However the Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association has indicated that the current Kindergarten model enjoyed by thousands of Kiwi kids should change to survive ‘future societal demands’. These changes will mean: · It will cost whānau to use their 20hrs free ECE. Three days at a Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association Kindy using the government's 20 hours free ECE could cost up to $735 a year after the changes; · In most Kindys the stand alone morning session will be abolished and only a 7 hour day will be offered; · There will no longer be term breaks and families must pay even if their child does not attend; · Teachers will lose hundreds of hours of non-contact time per year. We strongly believe this new strategic directive is not in the best interests of children and is a fundamental change in the concept and tradition of Kindergarten in New Zealand society. These changes are taking away the choices for our children at Kindergarten in favour of finding ‘efficiencies’. Forcing families to have our small children at Kindy for a longer day than a school aged child is not OK. Penalising families for wanting to spend quality family time with our children during the school holidays, and essentially making them pay to spend time with their children is not OK. We do not support “bums on seats” early childhood education, or the current funding model that promotes this. We are advocating on behalf of our tamariki, our taonga. They must be put first in all choices. If there are funding challenges then solutions must have acceptance from users. The Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association claimed less than 2% of its whanau oppose the changes currently being rolled out. This petition is to show the Board of the Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association (and The Ministry of Education, and other Kindergarten Associations in New Zealand proposing similar strategic changes) that families and communities do not support them. We expect robust governance of the Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association to include consultation with families, communities and individual kindergartens to inform strategic direction, rather than be part of the implementation of that plan. The Northern Auckland Kindergarten Association needs to show greater responsibility as a community service to children and families, and to the quality of early childhood education in New Zealand, and focus on retaining kindergarten's distinctive point of difference in the early childhood system. If something isn't broken, don't fix it. Please stop the roll out of the changes now. Reconsider the options to manage funding and make Kindergarten a sustainable model for the future without compromising the well-being of our tamariki.
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    Created by Frances Cross
  • Choices for our Children - Whanau against Auckland Kindergarten Association changes
    These changes are taking away the choices for our children at kindergarten in favour of maximising government funding. Forcing families to have our small children at kindy for a longer day than a school aged child is not ok. Penalising families for wanting to spend quality family time with our children during the school holidays, and essentially making them pay to spend time with their children is not ok. The current session structure is perfect for little ones beginning their kindy journey in the mornings, who are then able to go home for quiet time or a nap. It is a rite of passage when they can cope with a longer day, adding the afternoon session too. - The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child states in Article 3 1. In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. - Currently a child can be at kindy for five mornings a week and be fully funded with 20hrs free ECE. - Three days at an Auckland Kindergarten Association kindy using the government's 20 hours free ECE will cost $735 a year after the changes. - How can teachers provide the same quality of early childhood education with 480 less non-contact hours each year? The best choices are not being made for our children by the Auckland Kindergarten Association. Join the Facebook page Stop Auckland Kindergarten Changes Visit saveourkindergartens.co.nz
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  • Support Healthy Housing in New Zealand
    The home environment we live in plays a huge role in our own health, and the health of our families. Every winter in New Zealand, about 1600 deaths are attributed to people living in cold, damp homes (1). Compared to many other developed countries, New Zealand has much higher rates of people being hospitalised for lung diseases such as asthma (2). Living in cold, damp, mouldy environments places our families at much greater risk of having acute attacks. It is incredibly important that people with such illnesses are not treated just to be sent home to the environment that made them sick. The World Health Organisation recommends that houses should be insulated so that they are at least 18°C, a minimum temperature where lung (respiratory) illnesses are less likely to occur (3). Unfortunately up to a third of New Zealand’s homes do not meet this minimum standard, with the average temperature in poorer households being 13°C (3,4). This issue is therefore impacting on the health of our poorest communities and needs to be addressed by our government. It is also clear that insulating homes well would be much more cost-effective for the government. Programmes such as “Warm Up New Zealand” have shown that the savings associated with subsidising insulation and heaters far outweighs the costs by nearly 4 times (cost-benefit ratio of 3.9) (5). The government currently spends $5.5 billion per year on lung (respiratory) illnesses such as asthma, with much of this being preventable (6). Without a doubt, we strongly believe the Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill (No.2) is a step in the right direction. However there is still much that needs to be done. Together, we can make a difference in ensuring that New Zealand homes are warm and insulated, to improve the health of our children and families. References 1. Nichol R. 1600 deaths attributed to cold houses each winter in New Zealand. The New Zealand Listener. June 2017. http://www.noted.co.nz/currently/social-issues/1600-deaths-attributed-to-cold-houses-each-winter-in-new-zealand/#.WT9lYy9meGk.facebook 2. OECD (2011), Health at a Glance 2011: OECD Indicators, OECD Publishing. 3. Auckland Regional Public Health Service. Housing and Health in Auckland. Chapter 6: Cold, Damp and Mould. Pages 25-27. 2005. 4. Howden-Chapman P, Matheson A, Crane J, Viggers H, Cunningham M, Blakely T, et al. Effect of insulating existing houses on health inequality: cluster randomised study in the community. BMJ. 2007;334(7591):460. 5. Howden-Chapman P, Arnold R, Telfar-Barnard L, Preval N, Young C. Cost Benefit Analysis of the Warm Up New Zealand: Heat Smart Programme. 2012. 6. Barnard L, Baker M, Pierse N, Zhang J. The impact of respiratory disease in New Zealand: 2014 update. 2015
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  • Pay equity for aged care Nurses
    Recently the government passed an historic pay equity claim for health care assistants and support workers which is being widely celebrated in aged care. It is fantastic to hear that these hard working carers will be paid a liveable wage for the excellent work they do in an important sector of healthcare. However with this pay rise for health care assistants and support workers, the issue surrounding Registered Nurse pay rates in aged care is highlighted. Registered nurses in the aged care sector have long been overlooked, and on average make $5-15 less* than DHB acute care nurses with the same years of experience. The standard rate of pay for health care assistants is now only $1-4 less than an aged care Registered Nurse, despite the level of responsibility we take or experience we have. Within 5 years of the new pay scale plan the health care assistants will begin on a higher rate than many aged care nurses earn even after several years experience. We are the ones delegating the tasks, and addressing complicated health, social and emotional issues that arise from the care of our most vulnerable. We are caring for those with multiple co-morbidities, working without a doctor onsite, making difficult decisions on a day to day basis, using a broad and varied range of knowledge of both acute and chronic care management and end of life care. As we make these decisions, we are liable. Is the level of responsibility we take really only worth an extra dollar or two than a health care assistant? Is my degree really worth so little to the government? Aged care nurses are crucial, but if they are not paid what they are worth, many will continue to leave the sector, and few will enter it. Why become an aged care nurse if you make less than an acute care nurse? Why enter the nursing field if you can be on a higher rate as an HCA without the 3 year degree? Without the critical thinking and knowledge of RNs, the aged care sector will soon fall apart. We need to be encouraging nurses into the sector as it grows, and paying them what they are worth for the complicated and difficult work they do everyday. However with the limited funding available this is an issue our managers cannot afford to address without support from the government. *based on rates at my workplace vs. local DHB
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  • Establish an Independent Commission for Water
    Water - our lifeblood, a taonga and precious resource. We, and most other life forms on this planet cannot survive without it. In Aotearoa/New Zealand we are fortunate to have a relatively abundant supply and in some places, our water is of unsurpassed quality. But our guardianship of this treasure feels both negligent and negligible. In fact, there is clear evidence that many of our fresh water systems are suffering and our current water use is unsustainable. We have issues surrounding; access, pollution, “swimmable” rivers, the impact of agriculture and irrigation, loss of wetlands and their fauna, privatisation and selling our water to overseas companies. These issues are complex and interrelated. Resolving them will require focused, well-researched and sustained action. We need commitments and action from all aspects of our society – rural and urban communities, farmers and industries, politicians from all sides of the spectrum, scientists and ecologists, local and national government. We already have the Land and Water Forum (http://www.landandwater.org.nz/). They make well researched and constructive recommendations, but their recommendations are not recognised or implemented by government. We need an independent and well-resourced Waterways Commission. A Commission that can implement and enforce its recommendations, that puts the viability, sustainability and sanctity of our water at it’s centre, and that works with the diverse interests to create a national water strategy that protects, restores and sustainably manages this precious resource. And we need to act now. Please sign up if you agree. - Our fresh water 2017, Ministry for the Environment http://www.mfe.govt.nz/publications/environmental-reporting/our-fresh-water-2017 - New Zealand’s fresh waters: Values, state, trends and human impacts, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Science Advisor http://www.pmcsa.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/PMCSA-Freshwater-Report.pdf - Top scientist: Fixing freshwater issues an 'enormous challenge' http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/91418638/Top-scientist-Fixing-freshwater-issues-an-enormous-challenge - Dame Anne Salmond: NZ can’t ignore water warnings https://www.newsroom.co.nz/@environment/2017/03/26/16845/oecd-call-on-our-waterways-must-be-heeded - Water Fools? http://www.radionz.co.nz/programmes/water-fools - Landmark report finds freshwater at risk http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/329582/landmark-report-finds-freshwater-at-risk
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    Created by Hilary Unwin
  • NZ Deserves Honest Swimming Standards
    A recently released report from NIWA showed that the Government's proposed swimming standards were worse than those from the 2014 policy. Despite the Government claiming to have a goal of swimmable rivers by 2040, their policy weakened human health standards and only applies to 10% of the whole country's waterways. This won't solve our problems. It will only make them worse. Please use this form to make an official submission to the Ministry for the Environment's National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management. Submissions are open now until 5pm Thursday 25 May. New Zealanders have asked the Government and the Ministry for the Environment again and again for a genuine swimmable bottom line for rivers & lakes. Aotearoa New Zealand has serious problems of freshwater contamination and polluted rivers and lakes. We must take steps to stop this situation from getting worse and to begin to turn this around. The first step is to write strong protection for rivers and lakes into our country's freshwater policy. We can do this now and, in doing so, it will influence the work of local councils, industry and government to improve freshwater management so that rivers and lakes are protected for all New Zealanders. The OECD wrote in its 2017 Environmental Performance Review that New Zealand is reaching environmental limits and that freshwater pollution is one of areas of degradation that threatens the health of our people, our environment and our economy. As Sir Peter Gluckman, the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor said in a recent interview on his report on the state of the nation's freshwater, "The reality is we cannot keep going as we have been." He's right and the public is right. We have to change and the first step for improving the health of our rivers and lakes is this freshwater policy. It is the document on which decisions around the country will be made. Let's make it the best and the strongest it can be for the sake of this beautiful country. *The signatures counted here also include the submissions made on https://www.toko.org.nz/petitions/nz-deserves-honest-swimming-standards-1 [1] https://niwa.co.nz/news/niwa-technical-background-report-for-mfe-clean-water-swimmability-proposals-for-rivers [2] http://www.mfe.govt.nz/sites/default/files/microbiological-quality-jun03.pdf
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  • Transfer defence force funds to peaceful purposes
    This petition is supporting the Peace Hikoi of Ian Upton, who is walking from Cape Reinga to Parliament. Ian believes the use of taxpayer money to fund the capability of making war is unacceptable.[1] In November 2016 the Government announced a $20 billion budget for the NZ Defence Force, with plans to replace the Air Force Boeing 757, the C130-Hercules, the Orion maritime patrol aircraft and the ANZAC frigates.[2] This is while homelessness reaches new levels and the prison population recently passed 10,000. The number of children living below the poverty line is estimated at 300,000.[3,4,5] Huge capital expenditure for military purposes is inevitably at the expense of other spending the country needs in areas like transport and housing. Ian is walking to Parliament to give the message that the funds will be much better spent on peaceful purposes. There are many good organisations doing essential work that could benefit with more funding, for example work such as that carried out by the 1000 Days Trust, which supports children through their first 1000 days of life.[6] Taking the example of Costa Rica, who have had only a civil defence force and border patrol since 1949, why can we not do something similar? It is reasonable to defend our borders with vigilance, but we don't need the capability to wage war overseas. We teach our children that fighting is wrong. Common sense security is all that is required, not offensive capability. Ian expects to arrive at Parliament on 28 June. References 1 - Peace campaigner hits Tauranga on marathon march http://beta.nzherald.co.nz/bay-of-plenty-times/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503343&objectid=11866168 2 - http://beta.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11652807 3 - Homelessness http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/332032/urgent-housing-need-big-concern-going-into-winter 4 - Protest as prison population hits 10,000 http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/324283/protest-as-prison-population-hits-10,000 5 - New Zealand child poverty a source of deep concern, says UN https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/oct/07/new-zealand-child-poverty-a-source-of-deep-concern-says-un 6 - The first 1000 days of a child's life http://www.1000days.org.nz/
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  • Halt all New Zealand imports of phosphate from occupied Western Sahara
    Two New Zealand fertiliser companies import hundreds of thousands of tonnes of phosphate every year. The phosphate is used by the agriculture industry to make ‘super-fertilisers’ to help the grass grow. 70% of the phosphate supply comes from an occupied territory, Western Sahara. Western Sahara is about the size of New Zealand, a mineral-rich territory controlled by military force by Morocco since 1975. The United Nations' classifies it as a "non-self-governing territory" and many of its people live in refugee camps across the border, in Algeria.[1] Western Sahara is still waiting for a referendum for the local population promised in 1991. In 2017 a boat that contained phosphate bound for New Zealand was detained in South Africa and kept for a year because of its cargo. The South African court concluded that the shipping company had no right to transport phosphates from Western Sahara on behalf of the Moroccan government, as the cargo belonged to the people of the territory.[2] The import of phosphate is one of the darkest sides of New Zealand’s agricultural industry. Not only is it complicit with the territorial occupation, it is applied in huge amounts onto the land, damaging soils and ends up in the groundwater.[3] The phosphate trade from Western Sahara implicates farmers and New Zealanders in the plunder of another country’s natural resources.[4] Mark Wynne, the CEO of Ballance has said he visited Western Sahara and “looked into the social issues”. This is not a credible justification and we ask that the measures of his assessment are made public and transparent.[4] We wish to know what steps Ballance and Ravensdown have taken to obtain the consent of the people of Western Sahara to take their natural resources. Until there is an agreed settlement on a path to self-determination, as the United Nations sets out, and consent given by the recognised representatives of Western Sahara, then all imports from this occupied territory should be suspended. References 1 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnHbEz2lZIo Western Sahara: UN welcomes withdrawal of Polisario Front from Guerguerat area, UN News, April 2017 https://news.un.org/en/story/2017/04/556282-western-sahara-un-welcomes-withdrawal-polisario-front-guerguerat-area 2 - Morocco’s Phosphate Cargo Auctioned in South Africa After Pro-Polisario Verdict, 20 Mar 2018 https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2018/03/242803/moroccos-phosphate-cargo-south-africa-polisario/ 3 - Farmers urged to rethink use of fertiliser, NZ Herald, 15 June 2017 https://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/article.cfm?c_id=16&objectid=11876596 4 - Morocco's charm offensive to protect phosphate sale to NZ, RNZ, 20 April 2018 https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/business/355629/morocco-s-charm-offensive-to-protect-phosphate-sale-to-nz Human rights violation: NZ companies under fire for fertiliser imports 29 Mar 2015 https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zealand/human-rights-violation-nz-companies-under-fire-for-fertiliser-imports-6272824
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  • Tell the NZ government to take a stand against death camps for gay men in Russia
    Gay men are being kidnapped and killed in Chechnya, Russia. More than 100 men have been arrested under suspicion of being gay. There are reports of people being tortured and beaten, as well as enforced disappearances, and abduction-style detention camps. At least three men have been murdered. The official response from Chechen authorities is that "gay people do not even exist in Chechnya." The international community urgently needs to act. We must investigate these atrocities and bring to justice all those responsible for the arrests, torture, and killings of gay men in Chechnya. One of the roles of New Zealand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade is to provide advice to the New Zealand Government on international human rights issues and represents us at the UN. According to MFAT's own website, "New Zealand has a strong history of protecting and promoting human rights both at home and internationally." Now is the time to ensure those words are more than a good headline. New Zealand has a rich trading relationship with Russia totalling $762 million (MFAT website, 2014). We must use this trading relationship as leverage to advocate for human rights for all. Everyone deserves the right to life, love, freedom, safety and security. Please help speak out against oppression by signing this petition and sharing with your friends. ***MORE INFO*** https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/02/chechen-police-rounded-up-100-gay-men-report-russian-newspaper-chechnya http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39566136 An LGBT+ advocacy organisation, All Out, is running an emergency fundraiser to help the Russian LGBT Network evacuate and support gay men at risk of being captured and tortured in Chechnya. You can make a donation here: https://go.allout.org/en/a/chechnya/
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    Created by Laura Rapira
  • Say no to a pipeline through a Kiwi sanctuary by Mount Aspiring National Park
    A company called Okuru Enterprises Ltd, now trading as Alpine Pure has been given the right to take and export 800,000 tonnes of water – about 800 million litres – each month from a water catchment high in the mountains at Mount Aspiring National Park. As part of this arrangement, the company has also been given the right to lay a pipeline to transport the water out to sea to waiting ships through a sanctuary for New Zealand's rarest kiwi, the Haast Tokoeka. There's just over 400 Haast Tokoeka left in Aotearoa. DoC says its status is "Nationally Critical", and 33 of them are believed to live near the pipeline. Our national bird cannot afford for this risk. The use of DoC land costs the company just $5000 year, and the consent which expires in 2027 costs nothing, except for minor administration and processing fees. It'd bad enough we're selling off our water for private profit at next to nothing. It's worse we're willing to put our native kiwi at risk. The resource consent states that Okuru Enterprises must develop a ‘kiwi management plan’, with the objective of “avoiding adverse effects from construction and ongoing activities within conservation land on Haast tokoeka [kiwi] living within a 100ha radius of the proposed pipeline route”. It goes on to state that if kiwi are adversely affected, they will be “removed from the site”. But here’s the thing, ‘If things go wrong, we can just move the kiwi’ is a really bad precedent to set. To make matters worse, the endangered Fiordland Crested Penguin also lives in the pathway of the pipeline at Jackson’s Bay. The proposal to take our water, ship it off shore for what seems like marginal benefit to the local community but with a potentially catastrophic cost to two species that are already at critical risk of extinction looks like a bad one. As we know from our own history, humans tend to underestimate how wrong things can go, and it’s usually our wildlife, trees, rivers, birds and lakes that pay the cost. Please sign the petition and share it with your friends today. Read more: http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11777864 http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/88099749/from-national-park-to-overseas-plan-to-export-billions-of-litres-of-west-coast-water http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2017/04/company-given-right-to-lay-pipeline-through-kiwi-sanctuary.html
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  • Launch an independent inquiry into the NZ SAS's involvement in civilian casualties in Afghanistan
    “It is easy for people to become merely ‘casualties’. These people had names, lives, stories. None of them were part of an insurgent group or the attack on the New Zealand patrol. Nearly all were small children and women, in a country where women are very unlikely to be fighters. But after careful checks it seems clear that none of the men were either. They were simply farmers.” p.50–51 of 'Hit & Run' by Nicky Hager and Jon Stephenson. Now we have the chance to do our bit to ensure that anyone whose life was irrevocably harmed by our soldiers can get that kind of closure, and some form of justice. The NZ Defence Force says the claims of civilian deaths were investigated by a joint Afghan and ISAF assessment team, who concluded they were unfounded. A United Nation report on the incident, published in 2011, indicates that the joint ISAF assessment team was unable to complete a satisfactory assessment at the time. NZDF themselves have not conducted an investigation. The New Zealand public has now been presented with good reason to suspect that the joint Afghan and ISAF assessment may have got it wrong. A full and independent inquiry would provide the NZDF with a chance to clear their name, and the public with a chance to feel confident in our military and political leaders. New Zealand prides itself on being a force for good in the world. It won’t be comfortable to admit we’ve also sometimes been a force for great suffering and harm, but avoiding the truth doesn’t make it go away.
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    Created by Hit & Run Inquiry campaign
  • Better sex education in schools
    1 in 3 girls experience sexual assault before the age of 16. The same goes for 1 in 7 of boys. Many of us teenagers, still in high school, have experienced sexual harassment, sometimes within school environments. We're scared, we assume that this will be a part of our lives, and it doesn't come as a surprise when we're catcalled or people make jokes about rape. We don't want to live in a world where rape culture is normal anymore. People protesting rape culture outside parliament in Wellington last Monday called for better education of consent and sex education in schools. Hekia Parata responded to this in a recent RadioNZ article, saying that they are ruling out introducing compulsory education around sexual consent in high schools and "the subject is best addressed in a family setting." We think this is unacceptable, and that the chance of someone missing the vital lesson of consent is too high with this approach. In light of recent events at Wellington schools, and the general rape culture that is ingrained in our society, we believe as young people that a change needs to be made now. We believe addressing the issue in schools is an important first step. These are issues that LGBTQI+ people are often excluded from. However, they are heavily affected by rape culture and so we think it is important to include them in how these issues are addressed. The article with Hekia Parata's statment: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/326678/wellington-college-students-suspended-for-rape-comments An article on the protest outside parliament: http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/326507/'we-will-not-put-up-with-rape-culture-any-longer' An informative video about Mates and Dates: http://www.acc.co.nz/about-acc/videos/index.htm?mediaID=WPC139081
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    Created by Lauren Jack